Criminal Minds Beyond Borders Review

CBS' Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders: Will You Book a Return Trip?

Leading out of Criminal Minds‘ 250th episode, CBS this Wednesday invited you to double down on danger, death and dismemberment by sampling a new spinoff — Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. One episode into the globe-trotting offshoot, would you say it’s worth the trip?

Whereas Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior five years ago dared you to buy into a “rogue” BAU team that worked out of a dojo, Beyond Borders‘ biggest ask is that you believe the FBI has an International Response Unit that is deployed when Americans traveling abroad become the victims of very, very bad people. Having been introduced as a backdoor pilot last April, the official premiere involved the vanishing of college-age farm volunteers in Thailand, “one of the deadliest destinations for tourists,” we are told. And the local police are little help because “it’s not their job to worry about Americans, it’s ours,” says Unit Chief Jack Garrett, played by Gary Sinise (very familiar to the CSI: NY faithful as well as “Lieutenant Dan!” fans).

Rounding out Garrett’s team are Daniel Henney (Hawaii Five-0) as Special Ops Agent/father of four Matt Simmons, Tyler James Williams (The Walking Dead) as States-based tech guru/handholder-for-loved ones Russ “Monty” Montgomery and Annie Funke as former M.E. Mae Jarvis.

The original backdoor pilot costarred Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) as an international law expert/linguist with a brother wrongly imprisoned in Thailand. In its fully baked form, Beyond Borders subtracted Gunn and added CSI: Miami/Law & Order/Forever alum Alana De La Garza as Clara Seger, a widowed linguists whiz who is enlisted by Jack to pitch on on the aforementioned case and summarily joins the team full-time. (She and Jack share a past, in that her husband had been his best friend.)

After the backdoor pilot aired last spring, 63 percent of TVLine readers said they would “definitely” tune in for the actual series, while 12 percent of ya said “no way.” What say you now? Vote, and comment!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Ashley M says:

    I liked the episode. It was interesting and there’s a good chance that guy will pop into my nightmares tonight.

  2. Jerri says:

    CBS should stop trying to make a Criminal Minds franchise happen.

    • jericho says:

      Exactly. The show was not “new” nor was it all that “interesting”. Gary Sinise is just playing the same character he did on CSI: NY. Seeing Garza back on TV is a good thing, but the show was just another episode of Criminal Minds and it wasn’t as interesting.

      Right from the opening credits, the show tried to mimic its predecessor. Tossing in the narrated quote to open the episode proper, it was immediately clear that this isn’t going to be a new take on the mother show’s premise.

      • lechatnoir says:

        it would have appeared original if the show had an entirely different lead. Sinise is a one trick pony. same facial expression , same delivery of lines . ugh! This is one show that totally deserved a chica at the helm .

      • bgtaylor4 says:

        Yep. Would rather have seen CBS have him still be Mac Taylor, but now an ex-NY cop working internationally for the FBI.

  3. mike says:

    I enjoyed it as well I hope the series will last

  4. Sam says:

    I found this one so bad. Nothing really added up. The cast is not that likeable and that makes the difference in the CM world.

    Not my cup of tea. Nothing luring me to tune in again.

  5. Mr. Tran K says:

    Really hope Beyond Borders is destined to be a much better CM spin-off than Suspect Behavior. They need Gary Sinise to have another huge hit for CBS after his incredible run on CSI: NY.

  6. Angela says:

    I kinda like the cast in this one. There could be some really good interactions worth exploring between them as time goes on.
    The case didn’t really grab me much, but it will be interesting to see where the show has these people go from week to week and see what kinds of cases they might deal with. I think I’ll keep watching this one, see how the characters develop and all that good stuff :).

  7. Katie says:

    I found that I enjoyed it. Surprised me really. I like the dynamic of the team, Mae and Matt’s banter, Alana de Garza is just awesome in anything she does and I also enjoy watching Gary Sinise. If I can suspend my disbelief like I do with TO and just enjoy the show, then hell yes, I’m giving this show a try. I’m about fed up with the “mother ship” after tonight’s episode that I just might quit watching that and transfer my attention to CM:BB.

  8. KLS says:

    I thought it was ok. Seems like they could get cell/internet connection wherever they wanted. And what’s the deal with bringing the SUV and motorcycle with them? And why doesn’t the ME ride in the car? And why have a female linguist with them when they know men in Thailand don’t talk to women? Questions, questions….. I still might give it another shot though. (still tired of the word “unsub”)

  9. John NYC says:

    I’ll give it s few more. A pilot can be only a rough draft of what a show can become and I like De La Garza.

  10. Brandon says:

    It was good. WAYYYYY too many commercials though. It seemed like i spent more time sitting through boring commercials than actually watching the show, which lowered my enjoyment/interest significantly.

  11. Abby says:

    I enjoyed it a lot! I could tell the cast & crew went all out. And I’m a huge Alana De La Garza fan, and she was awesome. And Gary Sinise is a beast. I think it will get better & better.

  12. Suzanne says:

    Seriously? It’s 2016 and we’re back to showing white girls being captured by the scary jungle man? This was like a bad movie from the 50’s, I suppose the next episode will be in Africa and instead of showing the cities as the major metropolis’ they are, they can show natives in the jungle with bones in their noses. Ugh. Major fail.

  13. Sundee Hinchliffe says:

    Seems totally implausible. FBI going abroad to team up with foreign police departments? I doubt it. Where were the State Deptartment people who would have been all over this. I lived abroad in Asia for 7.5 years. And I traveled in Thailand a few times. There is very little likelihood that any of that story could have unfolded the way it did. I was hoping for a story line that was more believable, like Criminal Minds. But, hey, watching Gary Sinise for an hour can’t hurt! He’s a fantastic actor and I’ve enjoyed his work for a long time.

    • John NYC says:

      The FBI has liaison agents stationed in many foreign cities and they must cooperate with local authorities or they’d get booted from the country if not imprisoned.

      • John NYC says:

        Otoh? What looks like a C-17 for a couple of agents? So this is really a spinoff of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD with its own “Bus” giant aircraft complete with fun vehicles?


        • John NYC says:

          That shot when de la Garrza meets them at the rear loading ramp? That’s a huge aircraft: double wide vehicle capability and that wide stance landing gear? Coulson would be proud.

  14. I think Gary Sinise is fantastic in whatever he does. I also believe he could portray the next Dr. McCoy in a future “Star Trek”. Not only does he look like a younger Deforest Kelley, he can sound like him too-I noticed that when I saw him in “The Green Mile”. So why did they really cancel his CSI:NY?” I like him better than Ted Danson anyway. Hard to believe Gary’s only 2 months older than I am.

    • bgtaylor4 says:

      Kept thinking how much better this would be if Sinese were still playing Mac, an ex-NY cop now working for the FBI internationally. It’s the same acting. He’s playing this character the same way he played Mac.

  15. Nope. I can’t stand Gary Sinise. I don’t get why people seem to love him so much.

  16. Bangkok Bob says:

    Having lived in Thailand fourteen years, speaking the language, and knowing the culture well, this episode was one of the most painful hours I have ever spent in front of a television.

  17. Bella says:

    It was a decent introduction. I love Gary Sinise, so that’s the biggest draw for me. I like that they don’t have the annoyingly “quirky” one, that has been done to death. Something else I appreciate is that one of the female agent,, May? has a normal shape, instead of being stick thin, something else that makes this show stand out.

    • Suzanne says:

      I was excited about that too. Unfortunately, the actress didn’t seem up for the part. Her acting was wooden and it felt like she wasn’t mature enough for the part. I’d love to see a strong women take the role, Camryn Mannheim or someone like that.

      • bgtaylor4 says:

        Agreed. Kind of dud performance. Actually felt like there were too many characters to develop in one episode (fighting for screen time).

  18. Don J. says:

    I’m Thai and have traveled to Thailand quite often. The Bangkok sets looked horrible. Looked like they pulled leftovers from an episode of NCIS. Stock footage can only do so much. Other than that, I thought it was a decent opening.

  19. Diane Nardozza says:

    They need to get rid of Annie Funke; could not understand any of her dialogue. She needs to take diction lessons.

  20. It wasn’t too bad.

    I was just tempted to turn off the TV after last night’s episode of the mothership that I almost forgot to watch it.

    That’s how bad it’s gotten for me. But sadly I’ll stick around for the finale of CM and see what else Messer f’s up. (There is a reason I call her Messmaker)

  21. Erma Wilkins says:

    I was on the edge of my seat. Loved the episode. Glad it wasn’t as gruesome as the regular Criminal Minds.

  22. Maria says:

    Loved everything about it.
    The cast has great chemistry. The writing, pacing, and plot development were good.
    And I get Alana de la Garza back on my screen. I never thought I’d say this…but I like her in this role even better than her role in Forever.

  23. Jill R says:

    Once I stopped yelling, “Lieutenant Dan!!” at my screen I was able to relax and enjoy it.

  24. jj says:

    It was ok. I watch it only because they added Garza to the cast. (I would have preferred that Forever got renewed.) Was never a fan of Gary. Matt is ok. The tech guy is annoying. The medical examiner, I will give her another chance but right now not really liking her.

  25. Beth Hotvedt says:

    I watched the initial epiode. I don’t plan on watching it again.

  26. Sherri h says:

    I am avoiding reading the article as I cannot watch yet. Anyone know why it is not available on Amazon yet unlike all the other CBS shows which is the day after airing?????

    • amyj says:

      Not sure, but I use CBS All Access now for $6 a month. That + my Hulu stays under $20 a month for TV (though I do use Amazon occasionally, too). Might be worth checking out.

      • amyj says:

        To clarify: new episodes of shows are available the day after on CBS All Access. That’s how I watch Criminal Minds and will be watching this show.

  27. Beth Hotvedt says:

    I watched the initial episode. I don’t plan on watching it again.

  28. Jackie says:

    Stop trying to do spinoff of Criminal Minds. It’s ridiculous to think that other countries are going to allow outsiders to come in with guns blasting and take over their cases.

  29. Connie Gehring says:

    I look forward to this new addition, I hope CBS gives it a chance! Cast is awesome!!

  30. HAP says:

    Gary Sinise must have made a pact with the devil. How can folks love a guy that has but a single expression all the time? Is that acting?

  31. Steve L. says:

    The show’s general premise as well as the opening episode were maybe the worst national network programming that I have ever witnessed – so bad that it wasn’t even humorous. Will not waste my time on this drivel again.

  32. Mags says:

    Wow remove Anne Frank? Whatever her name is nothing good there she drags this all down how in hell did she get this part must be someone’s daughter please please remove!!!

  33. Terry says:

    It was just ok. Really dislike the M.E. Seems like she’s trying too hard and falls flat. The original Criminal Minds much better. I’ll try another episode or two and hope it gets better.

  34. Ted Chase says:

    I waited for months for the debut. I was definitely disappointed. The writing seemed contrived and certain members of the cast (Annie Funke) just didn’t fit the role. Sorry, I’ll defiantly give the show another shot next week but the chances are running out. Great theme but poor execution.

  35. Jack Thompson says:


    Gary Sinise looks like he has gotten a lot of botox shots since his last tv show !!

    And Anne Funke is not worth watching.

    Will not watch again !!

  36. Linnster says:

    It didn’t knock me off my feet. I could just have easily stopped watching halfway through and gone to sleep. Not sure if I’d watch it again.

  37. Rob says:

    May have a much success as their previous spin off.. Criminal minds suspect behavior

  38. Joann says:

    The Actor Doua Moua who played the Unsub was amazing! Should have given him more screen time to build the story.

  39. bgtaylor4 says:

    Was really anticipating this show. But it just just fell flat. In fact, I fell asleep 50% through it. Now have to endure commercials (agreed, way too many) and watching half of it again On Demand. Is it worth it?

  40. dorene t. says:

    Annie funke is totally unbelivable in her role, she is made out to be, not to mention athletic and winning the obstacle course in the beginning, laughable. .ruins the cast

    • Muchamachona says:

      Omg Ann franke just ruined it all for me the tired acting and lack of something >spunk Gary S is sooo good feel sorry that he has been blemished ‘pitted’with this bunch

  41. Frog Protection says:

    I was hoping that a character portrayed by Janeane Garofalo would stumble out of the jungle, eviscerated by the lonesome native … but that’s just me. #CM_BB I hope the next episode is better …

  42. Not really sure how far this concept will go. I’ll probably watch a couple more episodes to see if the cases aren’t formulaic as they hop from country to country. And I’m wondering if they’ll go to some really unfriendly country (or at least less than friendly) to try and rescue a US citizen. That might make a better show.

  43. Helen Hostetler says:

    Great show! One question: There was a tag of some kind hanging from Garcia’s dress when she cameoed on this week’s episode. What was the tag hanging from her dresses hem?

  44. Vivian Meseberg says:

    I love Gary Sinise, he belongs on TV , plays the role well , great actor, great person. Keep the show. Awesome!

  45. Stephen Reb says:

    Possibly the most unlikely premise ever devised– about as stupid as it gets. The 63% who claimed to enjoy it have obviously never traveled beyond our national borders. They probably also believe our armies of militarized police are doing a bang-up job, too. LOL.

  46. SEBNEM ERCELIK says:

    the show should get their facts straight before airing the episodes… some of their “cities” are nothing in common with the real locations and you can tel that they don’t even film on site but in some studio. all they needed to do was google before making assumptions about certain countries…